Panko-crusted asparagus makes a great weeknight side dish
Here's the thing about asparagus and me: we have kind of a tortured relationship. I mean tortured here in the most superficial sense, the kind of tortured that you felt when you were 14 years old and had an imaginary relationship with that boy you liked in Geometry. It's the kind of tortured that doesn't keep you up at night, except when it does.
I love asparagus when it's cooked well, when it's green and has just a little bit of bitter bite to it. I hate asparagus when I can taste each and every tough fiber in it. I absolutely despise it as a throwaway vegetable on a $30 plate of food because the chef felt like the plate "needed something green." It has much too strong a flavor to be relegated to the status of wallflower.
Since asparagus is in season, I've made it my mission to figure out a way to make it delicious without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. This quick and easy panko-crusted asparagus that pairs well with Asian main courses, like miso-marinated salmon. For an even easier, to-die-for Asian salmon, try Skinny Taste's version, here.
Panko-Crusted Asparagus with Lemon Zest (2-4 servings)
1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
Juice from 1 lemon, including zest (approximately 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is heating, arrange asparagus in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender.
When the asparagus is almost done, melt butter in a small skillet. Add breadcrumbs, stirring often until panko is golden brown. Immediately remove from heat (panko burns quickly) and stir in lemon juice and zest.
Remove asparagus from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. Top with panko bread mixture and grated cheese (if using). Serve immediately.